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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.

  

The Hill's 12:30 Report: House, Senate Republicans compete for cash | Former Playboy model free to speak about Trump | Trump allies reportedly worry Cohen will flip | Why Kim Jong Un's plane could be an obstacle to Trump summit | Where Trump, Kim could meet | Babies now allowed on Senate floor | What it was like on Southwest Flight 1380 | Cotton candy burritos

 

NEW HEADACHES FOR President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE


The Playboy problem -- former model is free to speak: 

A settlement was reached allows former Playboy model Karen McDougal to discuss her alleged affair with President TrumpDetails of the settlement: It "ends a lawsuit brought by the model, Karen McDougal, and protects the president from being drawn into a legal case involving efforts to buy the silence of women who had stories to tell about him during the 2016 campaign." Yeah, but: Trump still faces a legal battle with ex-porn star Stormy Daniels. Daniels is fighting to get out a legal agreement with Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen to stay quiet. https://nyti.ms/2J8PmSq


The Cohen problem -- Loyalty, shmoyalty:

Via Politico's Darren Samuelsohn and Andrew Restuccia, "Two sources close to the president said people in Trump's inner circle have in recent days been actively discussing the possibility that Michael Cohen -- long seen as one of Trump's most loyal personal allies -- might flip if he faces serious charges as a result of his work on behalf of Trump." Keep in mind about Cohen: He's involved with the Russia investigation, but is also involved in a separate investigation over his business dealings. https://politi.co/2JaRV6J

NEW TIDBIT: Michael Cohen just dropped his libel lawsuits against Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed. https://politi.co/2EZ93Kc

 

The Haley problem — It's the Trump administration. The TRUMP administration.:

Via The Hill's Jordan FabianNikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyGraham says SC people of color can go anywhere in the state but 'need to be conservative, not liberal' 'The soul' versus 'law and order' Author Ryan Girdusky: RNC worked best when highlighting 'regular people' as opposed to 'standard Republicans' MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, had a public argument with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow over proposed Russia sanctions. But the spat underscored Trump world's obsession with top aide's political ambitions. Why this is big: "It is virtually unheard of for administration officials to openly discuss their political futures, and Haley, who is widely seen as a present and future GOP star, has not said anything significant about running for a higher political office. Nonetheless, the comments had Trump allies saying that Haley is thinking too much of her own political brand." http://bit.ly/2qF0LCT

 

It's Thursday. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook.

 

JUST NOW

A Delta flight returns after small engine fire:

Via Sky News, a Delta flight returned to Atlanta 30 minutes into its trip to London after a small fire was seen in the engine. "Firefighters at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the city, doused the plane's engine, and the airport confirmed there were no injuries." Watch: http://bit.ly/2HdHToS

 

LATEST WITH TRUMP'S NORTH KOREA MEETING

'Whenever, wherever, we're meant to [meet] together':

--> http://bit.ly/2qK12EJ 

Via The New York Times's Ali Watkins, "Of all the obstacles to the potential summit meeting between President Trump and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, just getting there could prove the most turbulent." Why: "It is unclear whether Mr. Kim's fleet of Soviet-era planes can fly him more than a few thousand miles from North Korea." That sounds terrifyingKeep in mind: Kim hasn't flown outside of North Korea since he took office. He could borrow a plane, "but not without a significant dent to his well-established hubris." https://nyti.ms/2HAEsYI

TOP LOCATION OPTIONS: Sweden, Switzerland, China, Mongolia and the demilitarized zone are a few options. Pros and cons of each: https://cbsn.ws/2qLcUFA

 

T MINUS 7 MONTHS UNTIL THE MIDTERMS

Senate Republicans: 'Where is the love?':

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, the Republican National Committee's (RNC) midterm plan has sparked grumbles in the Senate over whether it puts too much of an emphasis on saving the House majority. What sparked this aggravation: An Associated Press story highlighting the party's plan to raise and spend $250 million on a GOP midterm protection plan, and quoting RNC Political Director Juston Johnson as saying, "Our No. 1 priority is keeping the House. We have to win the House." http://bit.ly/2J9gz7G

IN THE SPEAKER RACE: Via The Hill's Scott Wong, "Here's a twist: Some congressional Republicans say it's possible neither Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments McCarthy: 'I would think I already have the votes' to remain as House GOP leader Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform MORE (R-Calif.) nor Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats Cedric Richmond's next move: 'Sky's the limit' if Biden wins MORE (R-La.) will be serving in House leadership after the November midterm elections." Why: A group of roughly 30 conservatives want a fresh leadership team. Keep in mind: That group could prevent McCarthy or Scalise from reaching the 218 necessary votes. http://bit.ly/2qKGXxe

KEEP IN MIND: The Hill's Morning Report on the harrowing election data for Republicans: "More than three-dozen GOP lawmakers have opted to retire, rather than seek re-election. Democrats only need to flip 23 seats to take back the House." http://bit.ly/2HJNlg5

 

ANNOUNCED THIS A.M.

Newspaper layoffs:

Via The Tampa Bay Business Journal, the Tampa Bay Times is laying off around 50 people after the new tariffs President Trump imposed. Why: The tariffs increased the cost of newsprint. The newspaper's CEO said the tariffs could cost an additional $3 million. The layoffs: A spokeswoman "declined to specify how many of those layoffs would affect the newsroom, saying only that the 'cuts are taking place throughout the organization.' " http://bit.ly/2qPy4m7

 

IN OTHER NEWS

C-SPAN just gained a new star:

The Senate passed a resolution allowing Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthAmy Coney Barrett's extreme views put women's rights in jeopardy Trump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes McConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled MORE (D-Ill.) -- the first senator to give birth while in office -- to bring her baby onto the floor. Details: It allows Duckworth, or any other senator, to bring a child younger than one year of age onto the floor during votes. The chamber cleared the resolution by unanimous consent. http://bit.ly/2HJyUbW

BEST REACTION -- Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioIntel officials say Iran, Russia seeking to influence election Senate Intel leaders warn of election systems threats Trump remarks put pressure on Barr MORE STEALING THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH!: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) commented on the resolution. "Why would I object to it? We have plenty of babies on the floor." https://trib.in/2HdJ2sl

 

Welcome to America!!!!:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joked that he had two (!) lunches with President Trump yesterday, including a cheeseburger on the president's golf course. http://bit.ly/2qKh4yd

 

What it was like to be on Southwest Flight 1380 -- yikes:

Via The New York Times's Jack Healy and Christine Hauser, here's what it was like to be on the Southwest flight with an engine that exploded. "With no apparent warning, the plane's left engine exploded after one of its fan blades broke off. A gust of shrapnel blew out a window, partly sucking one passenger in Row 14 headfirst into the sky. Oxygen masks dropped down and the plane plunged thousands of feet in a minute." Passengers describe those minutes: https://nyti.ms/2vs8iJZ

 

Another member of Congress on the personal toll of the opioids crisis:

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Via The Hill's Rachael Roubein, Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.) opened up about her brother's struggle with opioids. "You deal with trust issues in the family. We didn't know whether to trust him. I can remember so many phone calls just wanting to believe what he was saying, and then the evidence [of opioid misuse] would prove otherwise." http://bit.ly/2HzETCk

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

This is too real:

 

23 years ago today:

 

Oh wow:

 

ON TAP:

The Senate is in. The House is out. 

Tidbit: Via The Washington Examiner's David M. Drucker, "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE, R-Ky., could seek to hold the Senate in session longer each week to keep vulnerable incumbent Democrats off the campaign trail." https://washex.am/2qLFzdF

Noon: President Trump arrives in Key West, Fla., from his Mar-a-Lago resort.

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has a briefing with Joint Interagency Task Force-South, Northcom and Southcom. He then heads back to his Mar-a-Lago resort.

1:45 p.m. EDT: The Senate has a confirmation vote on James Bridenstine as NASA administrator. The Senate's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2vqQ1Nl

2 p.m. EDT: The Brookings Institution is hosting an event on education in Africa. Details: https://brook.gs/2EXSfTP

2:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz in the White House.

Friday: Former first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose at St. Martin's Church in Houston. Details: http://bit.ly/2HfMK4G

Saturday: A private funeral for former first lady Barbara Bush in Houston. Details: http://bit.ly/2HfMK4G

Monday: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Brazil's OECD candidacy is best chance for reform Watch live: Pompeo news conference MORE's nomination to lead the State Department. Details: https://wapo.st/2HKKp2X 

Op-ed from a former State Department adviser on Pompeo's trip to North Korea and what it means for his confirmation. http://bit.ly/2qKOrA4

 

May 9: Small Business Administration administrator Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonApril's dumbest and most dangerous coronavirus declarations Trump convenes sports commissioners in hopes of filling stadiums Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief MORE and Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' Congress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out PPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  MORE (D-Md.) speak at an event hosted by The Hill on small businesses. Details and full list of speakers: http://bit.ly/2HcIt6n

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

4 p.m. EDT: CNN's Jake Tapper interviews former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Trump remarks put pressure on Barr Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals MOREhttp://bit.ly/2HdQecc

10 a.m. EDT Friday: Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson speaks at an American Enterprise Institute event. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2qAinQc

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Rice Ball Day.

 

When you've hit 'cotton candy burrito,' you've gone too far:

Cotton candy burritos are now a thing. Video -- even I wouldn't eat this: http://bit.ly/2JZQdX0

 

Slowly starts humming, 'I'm proud to be an American...':

Via The New York Post, "The average American utters their first curse word of the day at 10:54 am, according to new data." https://nyp.st/2qKZMQL

 

And because you read this far, here's a cat that hates its birthday: http://bit.ly/2qKySJq